Responding to "Green Politics" - Conclusion
- Wednesday, July 25, 2007
One quickly discovers that upon closer examination, there is a large and growing body of evidence demonstrating that “global warming” is simply a natural phenomenon, completely unrelated to human causation. I could literally spend the next several months recounting the data but I must bring this series to a conclusion and connect it to its theological considerations — why does it matter to the Church and why should Christians be equipped to respond to “green politics?”
To be sure, Christians should certainly oppose wanton destruction and reckless disregard for the environment. As individuals we should always seek to do that which is pleasing to the Lord in everything, including how we interact with nature and utilize earth’s natural resources. I realize there is the real danger of legalism in suggesting that Christians “should do this” and “not do that” when it comes to stewardship of the planet. Therefore, I will not fall into this trap by offering specifics on what kind of cars we should drive or eco-friendly living. Scripture does not offer such specifics therefore I, nor anyone for that matter, can provide detailed specifics without adding to the biblical revelation. However, we are given some direction relative to specific character qualities that can prove helpful in forming a consciously Christian approach to the environment.
Humility is the essential Christ-like quality and a humble character is not disposed to excessive consumption, prideful displays, and selfish exploitation of any resource, either human or ecological. (cf. Eph 5:15-21, Phil 2:1-8) A humble spirit will not consume without regard for their personal consumption’s impact on others and God’s creation. A humble spirit will not acquire based upon an acquisition’s statement to others of their status but rather need and sufficiency. To be clear, I am in no way suggesting that the wealthy are not to enjoy their “wealth and possessions,” as these are clearly a gift from God. (cf. Ecc 5:19) Furthermore, I am not advocating asceticism or a return to primitive living — progress and civilization are part of the dominion mandate given to man. These should be pursued for the benefit of humanity. God has also given us an appreciation for beauty and so emphasis on the aesthetic in the design of our homes, cars and environment expresses the creative quality of God and His glory. Again, each person should ask the question, "Is this sufficient? Finally, a humble spirit does not exploit nature or people by elevating their personal wants or gain over the moral good of others and the environment. It is this quality of humility that should drive our decisions relative to living in harmony with the created order.
As Christians we certainly should not abuse the environment and we should support measures that limit pollution, and encourage development that tries to balance nature and human needs. Granted, this “balance” will inevitably be imperfect but the best of human creativity and ingenuity should be applied to mediating these efforts while preserving the primacy of man. Suffice it to say, opposition to the theory of human-caused global warming does not necessarily mean one is indifferent to environmental abuse.
Again, my principal interests are the “why” and “what” questions related to the global warming issue. If so much evidence indicates otherwise, why are the proponents of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming so determined to assert and defend this perspective and what is their motivation? This is the issue that should be of greatest interest to the Church because herein lies a significant ‘false pretension that has set itself up against the knowledge of God.’
Granted, some are simply motivated by self-serving greed. Funding for climate research has grown from a mere $170 million annually in the early 1990s, which many scientists suggest was adequate given the scope of the industry, to more than $2 billion today. The fact is if you want funding for your research, connecting it to “global warming” increases your chances significantly. For example, if you seek funding to study the mating habits of the Grey Squirrel you are less likely to be successful than the researcher applying to study the effects of global warming on the mating habits of the Grey Squirrel. Money is driving much of the science.
Additionally, there is again the influence of Marxists, who since the collapse of Soviet Communism, see environmentalism as a new means to opposing capitalism and capitalist expansion. Then there are the radical extremists who advocate primitivism and a return medieval life. However, these are fringe elements and not the driving force behind the current debate. I contend, the popular idea that global warming is a human-caused phenomenon, which must be fought, offers secular man both an essential alternative morality to God’s and a purpose higher than himself.
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